Like many sea kayakers, I haven’t had much experience with surfskis. I’ve been to Hawaii and occasionally jumped on a ski or outrigger, but while I’m not quite a surfski virgin, I’m hardly experienced when it comes to these fast but often tippy sit-on-tops. Enter the Epic V10 Sport.
Epic V10 Sport Specs
Value / Performance / Ultra
Weight: 37 / 33 / 25 lbs
MSRP: $1,895 / $2,395 / $3,395 USD
The V10 series was an Epic undertaking
Epic surfskis are the brainchild of two-time Olympic gold medalist Greg Barton and the South African paddling phenomenon Oscar Chalupsky—the 11-time world surfski champion. The pair have harnessed computer design to the task of making a surfski that is fast yet comfortably stable. The name of their V10 series is reputedly a nod to the nine prototypes they rejected before arriving at the ultimate design.
While Epic produces two full-on racing skis for experts seeking championship titles—the V10 and the V10L (a lower volume version of the V10 designed for smaller paddlers)—the V10 Sport is a slightly backed-off version that is almost as speedy and more stable. It’s the perfect training and recreational racing ski for paddlers like me who are making the leap from stable touring kayaks.
Of the three layups available, “Ultra” is the lightest, using a kevlar and a Nomex honeycomb core; “Performance” is heavier but more durable; and “Value” uses a more economical fibreglass construction. Our Ultra test boat was very light and stiff, and I must admit that a 25-pound boat is addictive, especially when it comes to carrying it any distance.
An exhilarating ride
Afloat, the Epic V10 Sport is fun. Before climbing aboard I was concerned about stability, but once in the seat, I found that the sport has decent primary and solid secondary stability should you dip an edge. The seat is surprisingly large for a 19-inch-wide boat, and my skinny butt slid around more than I would have liked.
The deep footwell was comfortable and its high sidewalls provided good bracing for the sides of my calves. Despite the venturi drain in the footwell, on sprint starts water from the well will flow up into the seat and straight into your crotch—very exhilarating in cold water. The subtle front deck cutaway allows for a closer, more vertical stroke. Deck rigging is minimal but efficient, with spots to stash a few essentials like a hydration pack and a couple of energy bars.
Low Bow Wow
While many traditional sea kayaks have long upswept bows that overhang the water, the V10 Sport’s plumb bow drops almost straight down into the water. This approach provides maximum waterline length for best efficiency and speed through the water.
Float It Before You Boat It
Like most performance skis, the Epic V10 Sport is fitted with an under-stern rudder that precludes beaching the boat. The rudder’s placement forward of the stern is optimal for control, and keeps it submerged even in big seas when the stern itself may be lifted clear of the water by waves.
Feet Fit Swell
The single large footwell allows paddlers to comfortably place their heels together, and the clever fully adjustable footbrace is very quick to set up for different leg lengths. A high-capacity venturi drain draws water out of the bottom of the footwell.
Get slick with the Epic V10 Sport
If you’ve never tried a surfski, or if you have and were intimidated by another ski’s low stability, then jump on the user-friendly Epic V10 Sport. It’s one slick ride and it’s a great feeling to have so much glide and speed on the water.